LVI EXTINCTION OF THE CALIPHATE 173 of its followers still survive and are to some extent protected by the British officials.1 The Sack of Baghdad and the Execution of the Calif h^ A.H. 656 (1258).—From Hamadan, which Hulagu had made his headquarters after crushing the Assassins, a summons was sent to the Caliph Mustasim Billah, and in the autumn of A.D. 1257, or more than a year after accomplishing his first task, the Mongol prince, after much hesitation and consultation of astrologers, marched westwards to attack Baghdad from the east in co-operation with Baydu. The latter was instructed to march from the north and attack from the west, the object evidently being to prevent the escape of the Caliph and his subjects. Mustasim Billah was an unworthy nullity, full of false pride. Instead of profiting by the delay granted him through Hulagu's love of ease and pleasure, he took no adequate steps to collect troops} and above all, utterly refused to unlock the doors of his treasure-house. Had he been a capable ruler, he could very probably have beaten off the Mongols, but the last of the Abbasid dynasty was a sorry degenerate. The two Mongol armies aggregated about one hundred thousand men, whereas the Caliph, owing to his avarice and folly, could not muster more than one-fifth of that force. Resistance was offered at Takrit, where the bridge over the Tigris was destroyed, and again at Dujayal; but the Mongols flooded the Moslem camp during the night, making the position impossible, and only a few fugitives escaped to Baghdad. The Mongols now advanced on the heart of Islam and took part of the walls by assault. Overtures were then made, and, like so many other deluded victims of Mongol treachery, the Caliph surrendered. According to the Moslem historians, he was done to death by being tied up in a sack and then trampled on by horses or beaten with clubs, and the story is not improbable, since to shed royal blood was contrary to the Mongol usage. However, it is impossible to pass by the account 1 In Chapter LXXVII. an account is given of the rebellion of Aga Khan, the leader of the Ismailis in the middle of the nineteenth century.